I got a chance to go on a naturalist led Tidepool expedition over Thanksgiving break at Cabrillio National Monument. Though it was cold and I was not prepared for getting my shoes wet, which happened thanks to a rouge wave, the $5 I paid to get in was completely worth it. Below are some of the marine life I saw while at the tidepool, they include: Giant Keyhole Limpet, Brittle Starfish, Kelp Crab, Kelp Fish and Rock Crab. We saw a lot of other species as well, but these were the highlights.
The Giant Limpet was the first thing we saw and drew a large crowd. We ended up picking up more people (families really) who started following our group so they can learn a little about what they were looking at. The Giant Limpet was a mystery to us too until we came across a Park Ranger who identified it for us. This big mushroom looking limpet was pretty creepy but also it was a great way to start the tidepooling. The tidepool trip was only the maybe 5th time I’ve gone to one and my first since about 8 years ago. I was shocked at what was hidden in the kelp and water. The kelp fish was pretty amazing, i’ve never seen one so close up before. They have transparent sclaes that mimic the kelp that they hide in, pretty amazing for a small fish. The Kelp Crab was also something I’ve never seen before. As you can see from the images we couldn’t get him to let go of the kelp.
We spent about an hour at the tidepool and it was cool to have someone who knew how to find the marine life with us as a guide, especially to point out the random wildlife we spotted. Unfortunately I didn’t touch any of the wildlife, for fear of my life, but it was exciting to see them close up and to see the excitement on everyone’s faces when we did find something. I even did my part to clean up the tidepool by picking up random styrrofoam scattered throughout the tidepool and a car starter…. that one was strange but I was able to hold onto it and give it to a Park Ranger who was going around picking up garbage left by visitors or that washed up on the beach.